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Gov. Murkowski Signs Three Streamlining Bills


June 03, 2005

Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski signed into law three bills intended to make easier the permit process for rural roads and oil and gas development.

"Part of our agenda for change involves taking control of our resources, eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy without lessening our environmental standards and making common sense changes to get our state moving," Murkowski said. "These bills accomplish those goals."

Senate Bill 103, by request of the governor, gives the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission the authority to regulate all underground injection wells used in the oil and gas industry. Currently, the state regulates Class II wells while the EPA regulates Class I wells.

This change will result in quicker action on permit applications and create a single, uniform process for regulating underground injection to improve efficiency and reduce confusion in the permitting process.

Senate Bill 16, sponsored by Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak; removes a requirement that the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities perform a cost benefit analysis for projects involving rehabilitation and maintenance of existing transportation systems or projects that primarily serve local needs.

Department officials told the Legislature that such costly studies are difficult to perform, since some projects are 5-15 years in the future, and are of negligible value to projects. In addition, the current requirements disadvantage important rural transportation projects since they inherently benefit fewer Alaskans than urban projects.

The bill grew out of a legal dispute over construction of a bridge between Illiamna and Nondalton.

Senate Bill 144, sponsored by the Senate Resources Committee, is part of the Murkowski administration's efforts to streamline permitting. The bill updates state statutes to mirror federal definitions relating to air quality permits, making it easier to issue and enforce air permit compliance more effectively.


Source of News:

Office of the Governor
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